January 28, 2016
To Iman, my favourite Muttaqin.
These few days had been confusing, depressing, emotionally draining - the world-shattering news and how it had blown out of proportion - it's been really difficult for me to work my thoughts around it, I guess it must have been terribly hard for you, who had to deal with it on your own. You, who had to withstand the pain which I hadn't even the slightest idea of when I was your age. But you're my very own Iman, my first, so I guess deep inside, I kind of know you will pull through. And I hope you will live better, stronger, even happier than the last three years you've spent dealing with shit you could really care less about. Try as I might, I'll never get to comprehend how crazy it must have been for you all this while. For that, I'm sorry. I would have tried harder if only I had known how.
People get attached to me rather easily I guess, due to the quirky and random things I say and do that people could strangely relate to. I don't get attached to people as easily, though. But you and Shakir were one of those rare sparks. One of those bottled lightning bolts not many people have the luck to encounter in their life adventures. One of the Rons and Hermiones the boring Harrys secretly wish to have as friends. So I got attached. I still happily am. It's true. My teaching days were naturally less tiring because you guys were around. College activities were ten times more fun than usual because you guys were there. Struggles didn't really feel like struggles because I had you guys to tone down the madness with your own. On most days it would be Hogwarts all over the place and it was always amazing I don't even know what I did to deserve such memories. I couldn't thank God enough for kids like you two. Because some people live out their lives never knowing magic like you guys even exist in this world. And that's actually very sad. But both of you really were my personal Gandalf's dragon fireworks in my own Shire. You guys still are. You guys will always be - that's a promise.
It's just that sometimes, some things had to happen. Someone had to break so many hearts with one phone call. Another person had to make some life-changing decisions as the world he had known all his life collapsed right under his feet. Some people had to go on a journey they would never have agreed to in their worst drunken state while some other people will have to stay where they are when they're just dying to leave. And Teacher Nani, in one of the extremely rare occasions in her life, will have to accept that some things will never go her way no matter how desperately she wants them to. No matter how many tables she furiously flips. She will have to learn that it's one thing to give your heart away to people who had given theirs to you; and it's another thing to simply love people just because you can. It's one thing to do memorable things with the people you adore, it's another to remember the good times without crying when the said people are no longer around. And at some point in her life, she will have to learn to forgive life for being unforgiving. She will have to thank life for putting her up against batshit insane obstacles that come with a fresh hell every single time. She will have to understand that sometimes she will not have a choice and that's fine.
Losing someone you really care about is not easy. You can take an entire century, it will never get easier. You can chase away the pain with new memories and new people, and in the end you'll realize that it's still there and you're still not used to it. You can grow older and wiser and you can lose so many others along the way and it will always, always hurt the way it first did. It's the kind of agony that does not heal. Not even with time. The longing. The emptiness. The fact that something is lost, and there is nothing you can do about it. That's just how it is. That's the price your heart agreed to pay when your mind decided to let someone into your life. And sometimes, when the person you lose is extra special, you pay a higher price. You break into smaller pieces. You bleed darker shades of crimson. You fall deeper into grief. You die faster in your nightmares. Basically Iman, that's how much it hurts me, having to see you leave, if you can understand. These pieces I've broken into, I don't even know which to pick up first. I don't know if I ever would. Or if I ever could. Because a favorite student doesn't happen every year. Because you, Iman, you don't happen every year.
I will miss our enthusiastic book chats, dearly. I will miss listening to the twisted, creepy things you often say. I will miss sitting next to you and watching you work your video editing magic. I will miss rolling my eyes at you and Shakir's stupid fights. I will miss telling you to 'Jangan jadi gila la Iman!' I will miss how you would playfully laugh it away. I will miss correcting your grammatical errors. I will miss telling you what song to use for what scene. I will miss those days we spent on the stage. I will miss agreeing with Shakir's 'Iman ni dah gila, Teacher,' everytime your juvenile dark side shows. I will miss everything I remember about you, and us. And that is not gonna be easy. Because I remember so damn much, and I remember too well. Because remembering those will mean that I will always be reminded of one excruciatingly painful fact; I won't be seeing you that often anymore. That hurts. A lot. It always will. It will forever be a haunting truth that I will never be numb to. I just hope that whatever silver lining there is to this exasperating black cloud will be worth waiting for. But until then, please take care of yourself. Never stop glowing. Smile like you mean it. And remember me, because I will always remember you, fondly.
In a hundred years or less, I could be dust. I could be stardust if my stars don't fuck up their job. I could be gone unless God decides differently. I could be anything. You, too. You could be the brightest star in someone's sky. You could be the best summer someone has ever had. Or you could be the reason someone decides to keep living. You could be anything. Because of that, I need you to know this and hold on to it - whatever I am a hundred years from now, and wherever you are at that moment - I would still be your teacher and you would still be one of my favorite people in the world. Literally nothing has changed since the day you left. Literally nothing will change in a hundred years, insyaAllah. At least not between us, nope. In the future - near or far - I hope our paths will cross again, and when that happens, I wish to see the same glow I had always seen you with. The one I will always love you with. Keep shining, Muhammad Iman Muttaqin. Because that's what you do best.
With so much love and nothing else,